In my past couple years of traveling to Vitoria, Brazil, I have had the opportunity to enjoy a few steaming pots of a fish laden stew called Moqueca. I finally had a chance to visit the place where the pots that Moqueca are cooked and served in are made. I was dropped off on a dusty road next to a long warehouse in a rural section of Vitoria. Along one side of the warehouse were hundreds of finished black clay pots of various sizes. There were women in stalls quickly molding brown clay into the various sized pots as they chatted across the stalls in Portuguese.
The light brown pots would eventually find their way across the street alongside a slow-moving, brown and murky river where piles of wood from what looked like recently bulldozed homes were feeding a large smoke inducing fire. Some bowls were sitting directly in the blaze while others lined up and waited their turn. A few ladies with skin tone that matched the tan clay pots, tended the fire and moved the pots around the with a long pole without much notice to the grey smoke that was nearly choking me out. This is a process that has lasted for over 400 years, molding pots made from clay and mangrove tree sap. After they are placed in the fire multiple times, the sap is applied which gives it the dark back color and makes the pots water-resistant. The pots are then ready to be a part of crafting a dish that has been made by Brazilians for hundreds of years.